|Maybe I am an alien???|
I didn't choose freelancing. I could've chosen not to freelance. There is this saying that "you don't choose ballet, it chooses you." I don't remember who said it first. But however cliche it sounds, it is true. Ballet and technical dance in general are not kind arts. As a child, you are put into this art form because parents think it is cute, good exercise, and fun. This is one of the greatest facades I have ever known. Ballet is grueling, torturous hard work that is generally unforgiving, aesthetically-elitist, and selfish. Those that are lucky enough to enter the professional ballet world learn very quickly if they were chosen by it. I've seen many magnificently talented dancers quit during their first few years with a company due to injury, poor coping skills, burnout, or unhappiness with casting. These people weren't the chosen ones. Those that are chosen will suffer through less than ideal circumstances for three reasons; to defeat adversity, to savor those rare moments when ballet does give back, and because they need to dance. When I suffered my injury nearly two years ago and was unfairly let go from my company job, there was no question that I needed to dance. It was only a matter of how. At the time, my only option was freelancing.
|This costume wasn't a highlight of my freelancing career|
With all of this negative, also comes the positive. I have never felt freer artistically since I started traveling on my own. The good jobs that I get are usually quite professional, where those in charge understand the professionalism that goes along with my credentials. These lead to trusting relationships, where I have been able to have more say in my product. I have seen parts of the world I wouldn't have seen otherwise. And for every 5 to 10 jobs that pay poorly, there is usually 1 or 2 that make you feel like a celebrity. But all in all, it is the people that you meet along the way that make it worthwhile. And the privilege to see that there are amazing dance artists everywhere has been eye-opening; in every company and in every project that I have been a part of. Lastly, it is really gratifying to know that I can make a dance career happen on my own. No company, agent, or individual to take credit, except myself.
So, I guess the big question is what is next? Well, the big plan was this. I was very inspired by the audition process for Chris Wheeldon's American in Paris. I would love to explore the world of musical theatre and Broadway, as I feel that joining that world would be coming full circle with my training. When I was a teenager, Riz-Biz Productions founder and former A Chorus Line dancer, Bob Rizzo, took me under his wing. Everybody and their mother told me to stop dreaming about ballet and go into musical theatre. They told me this because I was known for my personality onstage and clearly behind in my ballet technique. The only issue with this is that I didn't have proper vocal training and I had fallen in love with ballet. So, included in my plan is a period of vocal training and, maybe even, some acting lessons.
|This was my original plan. Im in khakis on the right. West Side Story Suite by Jerome Robbins (Photo: Angela Sterling)|
So what happens with my freelancing? Well, until I figure all of this out, I will continue freelancing. My plan is to start slowing my traveling down over the first six months of the new year. I'm currently searching for teaching work to reestablish my savings account. Eventually, I hope to only take work that I really, really, really want to do. As this happens, I plan on beginning work for both of my plans. I will work towards both to see which seems like a more viable option. My end goal is to either join a ballet company or be auditioning for shows in New York City by September.
|My end goal|